Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers among males and because of this, there is a strong public and medical interest in making the diagnosis and staging of this cancer. Despite the cancer being slow growing, it makes 10-percent of cancer linked deaths in men and about a thousands of lives of men being taken every year because of the disease.
Most prostate cancers are initially diagnosed through tests and screening. This is because it remains controversial whether to test men with no symptoms for prostrate cancer. Some health and medical institutions do not concur if there are any benefits to screen while some others advise men to contemplate screening for men in their 50s or earlier for those who have some risk factors. Some medical institutions are against any kind of screening. There is no precise and exact test for prostate cancer so consult your doctor and discuss your condition, risk of screening and concerns to see if prostate cancer screening and diagnosis is right for you.
One of the prostrate screening tests is digital rectal exam (DRE). A doctor uses a lubricated finger with a glove inside your rectum to inspect the prostate which is next to the rectum during the DRE examination. Further tests may be needed if the doctor finds any unusualness found in the shape, size or texture of the gland. A second screening test available is the Prostrate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The healthcare team will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm to evaluate the PSA, which the prostate gland naturally produces as a substance. It is safe to say that if there is a small amount of PSA in the bloodstream, it is normal. A suggestion of prostate infection, inflammation, enlargement of cancer would be a result of a higher than normal level found.
Studies have shown to be doubtful and disagreeing on whether a combination of DRE and PSA testing helps to distinguish prostate cancer at its earlier stages. As a result, prostate cancer screening remains a huge debate among health experts.
Upon completeing the DNA and PSA test, some other tests will be done to conclude if you have prostate cancer. One of them is a small examination done with an insertion into the rectum through ultra sound the shape and size of a cigar. An image of your prostate gland will be made by a probe using sound waves. If there is suspicion of prostrate cancer from the first testing results, a method collecting sample of cells from the prostate called prostate biopsy will be advised by the doctor. A prostate biopsy happens when tissue is collected using a thin needle inserted into the prostate. In a lab, the tissue is then examined to see if cancer cells are present.
When a biopsy certifies the presence of cancer, what follows is the determination of the degree of cancer cells aggression (grade). The job of a pathologist in the lab will study how much difference there is between the cancer cells and healthy cells. An aggressive cancer is more likely spread rapidly if it has a higher grade. It is not necsesary for a patient to stay overnight in this procedure and it can usually be done in a hospital or a doctor’s office. Local anaethesia is given to the patient beforehand to numb the area and antiobiotics are presecribed at the start of the procedure to avoid infection.
As soon as the prostate cancer has been diagnosed, the doctor will take on the next task of pinning down the intensity (stage) of the cancer. If there is an impression by the doctor that the cancer may have spreaded beyond the prostate, it is recommended to have some imaging tests done. They are bone scan, ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) positron emission tomomography (PET).It is to note that not everyone should take these tests. Your doctor will help advise you on which is most suitable for you.
The stage of the cancer is then assigned by your doctor once the tests are taken which will help to lead you to the appropriate treatment. The first cancer stage is Stage I. The cancer in this stage is restricted to a very small area and cancer cells are not seen as aggressive under a microscope. At Stage II, the cancer cells are remain small and viewed under microscope and can be aggressive. It is possible that the cancer may be bigger and have enlarged on both sides of the prostate gland. In Stage III, the cancer has spread to seminal vescicles and other nearby tissues. Lastly, organs such as bladders, lymph nodes, bones, lungs and other organs which have been infected by cancer is considered Stage IV.